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A research report shows that nearly 600,000 homes in the U.S experience damages due to termites each year. The report further shows that U.S residents are reported to spend almost $5 billion per year on termite control and damage repairs caused by terminates. These are statistic from the U.S only; not worldwide. Now, if we were to look at termite statistics globally, the numbers will probably depress you or strike fear into your heart. This goes to show you that termite infestation is quite rampant and that these little insects can cause serious damages and losses to homeowners.
Termite infestation is one of those situations you would never want to encounter or deal with in your home. Once they attack your home, termites will cause incredible damages in every part of your home. In fact, if you happen to have a termite invasion in your, you will probably be dealing with an entire colony of termites. Well, this might sound less scary, but when you learn that a colony means hundreds of thousands of these tiny insects, you might not just get scared, but you will have a good reason to panic.
Termites are tiny insects, usually referred to as cryptic which means they hardly come out in the open. This part of their nature makes it extremely difficult to detect their presence in your home. In fact, this is one particular insect that most people like to call ‘silent destroyer’ because they will secretly invade your home, multiply to huge numbers and cause massive damages without ever suspecting that they are thriving right under your roof.
Even worse, termites resemble ants, so, if you happen to spot one flying around your home, you can easily mistake it for an ant or other common insect and ignore it. As a result, you will find that termites will grow their colonies massively in most homes without detection. As they grow in numbers, termites are known to chew on pounds of wood. At this point, when we talk of termites chewing on wood, you should think of the wood as the structural component of your home. You can imagine the damage these insects will be causing to your home unknown to you.
Termites can chew on anything wooden in your home, from your building structure to wooden furniture and trees. To make matters worse, termites multiply fast, and within no time, these little bugs will grow their colonies to hundreds and thousands of them. Even though termites may not directly harm you, they are quite destructive when they get to their source of food which is wood.
As we mentioned, termites are commonly mistaken for ants which makes it possible for an infestation to grow undetected. Generally, termites tend to have similar traits with a majority of insects. Before you can think of calling for inspection and pest control services, let’s get a description of how termites look like to ensure that you know what you are dealing with.
Here are some of the physical traits in termites and ants that should help you identify each and tell them apart:
Termites generally vary in color; some are cream while others are black. Their body color mostly will depend on the role of the termite in that particular colony. They are small sized measuring from a few millimeters to approximately 1cm.
If we look at termites from an ecological view, they actually play an important role in the environment. This is because termites feed on cellulose which is present in most plants fibers. In the process, termites help in decomposition of litter and recycle cellulose and transform into something usable. However, we cannot overlook the damages these insects subject building structures and wooden items in their quest to get a source of food. When it comes to termite infestation, your home, regardless of the type of construction, will provide cellulose, which is the main source of food for termites. This includes your home’s foundation, roof, furniture, shelves, wooden cabinets, and books. Termites are also known to damage a living tree or shrubs, although rarely.
Termites are extremely destructive insects. Once they invade your home, they will have little regard for your home, and they will cause massive damages which will cost you thousands of dollars to repair. As a homeowner, it’s essential to be aware of the signs that indicate you have termites burrowing in your property. It’s clear that no one wants to incur expensive damages due to termite activity. You need to protect your home. If you can detect termites in your home before they grow their colonies, it would be easier to have an inspection and proper elimination methods before they cause damages and losses.
Here are the signs to look out for:
Mud tubes are a clear sign of termites. They are pencil size tunnels of soil and accumulated dirt such as fecal materials and cellulose that connect termite’s nest to the source of food. Mud tubes, also referred to as shelter tubes are important to termites as they protect them from their predators. The mud tubes also provide termites with favorable conditions which a humid and dark environment for their growth and food storage.
The tubes originate from the foundation of a building, climbing along the walls in a pattern. Some mud tubes are narrow at about 10 millimeters, while others are wider. Since they are made of clay and dirt, they take the color of clay and are mostly brown or dark brown in appearance. The mud tubes contain soldiers and workers foraging and transporting food to their nest. The mud tubes it’s where lots of damage happens as the termites’ forage for food. Since the workers and the soldiers are usually in large numbers, they will leave extensive damages on the wood or any place where the mud tubes pass through.
These mud tubes will snake through your ceiling, or at the base of stairs all the way to the porch till it gets to the source of food. For example; the source of food could be at the firewood storage place or on a tree trunk.
The presence of mud tubes in your property is a proof of termites which calls for an inspection. However, their absence does not necessarily mean that there are no termites in your home. Termites can still use cracks and crevices, steps, foundation wall, porches and other places to get to their source of food and back to their nests.
There are two common types of termites: dry wood and subterranean termite. Drywood termites do not rely on the soil as their point of contact. When they infest, they nest inside the wood. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, nest underground. They construct tunnels that they use to forage and transport food.
The tunnels go deep down the soil for about 20centimeters or more and have a radius of about 50 meters or more. If you notice these kinds of tunnels in your backyard near a tree trunk or near the foundation of your house, or around the deck, you might be having termites in your home.
When termites are at their reproductive stage, they are referred to as swarmers. At this stage, the swarmers fly around looking for new places to start colonies. The dry wood termite is quite unpredictable, but the subterranean termite usually swarms around during the spring season. If you notice piles of wings that look like fish scales around your home, you need to alert pests and insect control specialists to do an inspection in your property for termites.
Termites usually burrow and excavate wood from the inside leaving a thin layer on top of the surface and the outside. This is actually one of the reasons why you might not be able to detect an infestation early. As the termites keep on burrowing the wood from inside, it becomes hollow and weak. As a result, you will start experiencing sagging floors; weak, damaged and crumbling wooded surfaces.
If you suspect you have termites in your home, you can try walking around your house tapping on your wooden floors and walls to hear if they will produce hollow sounds. If you identify the hollowness, you should call for termite inspection services immediately.
Termites droppings are usually referred to as frass. Typically, subterranean termites are known not to leave droppings behind. The droppings you are likely to see are those of dry wood termites.
Drywood frass usually looks like small oval-shaped capsules or small piles of salt. The pellets are about 1 millimeter in length and are six-sided with rounded ends. The color of the frass is dependent on the color of wood the termites feed on. As they clean their nests, dry wood termites will push their frass outside through the kick out holes they form on the wood.
If you find piles of little mounds with pellet-like droppings that match the rounded description below the kick out holes in the wood, contract inspection services.
When termites attack wooden items, they excavate the wood from the inside and leave a thin layer on top intact. If you listen carefully, you are likely to hear termite noises in the hollow wood especially in parts where there is a heavy infestation. The termite noises you are likely to hear will probably be coming from the soldiers as they tap their heads and mandibles on the wood surface when signaling the rest of the colony.
As termites excavate the wooden floors in your home, you may start noticing that your tiles are becoming loose. This is as a result of the added moisture coming about due to termite activity on your tiles. Excess moisture will gradually loosen up your tiles.
If you start seeing swarmers, what most people refer to as “flying ants,” mostly coming near light sources it’s an indication that termites have a nest somewhere nearby. A swarm, as we described earlier is a group of male and female adult termites going through a reproductive process and fly around looking for places to create new colonies.
Swarming usually happens when a colony grows to a particular size and occurs mostly in the spring. The swarmers come out during the day especially on warm days just after the rains. Finding swarmers in your outdoor space may not be an indication that you have a termite infestation inside your house, the infestation could be outside only.
However, if you spot the swarmers inside your house, then it’s possible that you already have a termite infestation inside your home. At this point, you should call for termite inspection service to determine if indeed you are dealing with a termite situation in your home.
The above are some of the signs that you may come across in your home if there is termite activity going on. If you are pretty certain that you have seen some of the discussed signs in your home, you should act quickly before the damages become severe and the termite colonies grow exceedingly.
What should you do if you suspect you could be having termites in your property? The first step should be to call for termite inspection services. Not only will a termite inspection professional ascertain whether you have a termite infestation, but they will also effectively advice on ways to eradicate the problem altogether. Detecting termites can be quite difficult, and the process the of eradicating them gets even harder. A termite infestation is one of those situations that are best left to professionals to handle and not a DIY adventure.
The thought of having termites in your home can be scary. Termites are relentless insects that cause havoc to homes especially on anything that is wooden. A termite infestation in your home can end up costing you a lot of money in damages. If by any means you suspect you have a termite infestation, you need to call for termite inspection services.
The termite inspector will carry out an investigation and inspect various parts of your home to see if there is a presence of termites. The inspector will walk through your entire home, visually assess all the readily accessible areas, look for evidence of wood damage due to insects, and then proceed to assess the interior of your home including hard to reach places such as the basement and crawl places.
The inspector will then proceed to inspect the exterior of your property. They will walk through your backyard, inspect tree trunks, firewood storage, deck area and any other wooden structure in your outdoor space. After the inspection, the professional will give their detailed findings and report.
A termite inspection should take roughly 1 ½ to 2 hours. This involves inspection of both the interior and the exterior of your home. Here is what the inspection will entail:
✓ A detailed inspection of the interior of your home which will also include the attic and the garage. The inspector will assess all the baseboards in your house, the walls, door frames, all the cabinets, closets, windows, and crawl places. They will particularly pay close attention to areas such as the bathroom, the kitchen, storage rooms, areas with visible plumbing works, that penetrate through the slab and in utility rooms.
✓ The inspector will use a special tool to probe and tap wood to see if the termites have attacked the wood leaving it hollow.
✓ The inspection will then proceed to the exterior of your home. Here, the inspector will visually look for signs of termite infestation and conditions that are favorable for termites to thrive. They will look for all sources and avenues that can allow termites to grow nests and colonies.
✓ The exterior termite inspection will, therefore, involve inspection and assessment of your home’s foundation, eaves of your home and a close examination of all your exterior walls.
✓ Still, on the exterior inspection, the inspector will assess and inspect the surroundings of your homes and your yard. They will inspect the landscaping of your home including trees, plants, and your garden to identify termite activity in any of these places and look for evidence of their existence. The inspector will look points where there is wood-to-earth contact such as veneer and siding. The professional will examine wooden structures including fence and stored lumber.
✓ The inspector will come up with a graph or a map of your home showing all locations of the termites in your property and give details of conditions that allowed the infestation to thrive.
✓ The inspector may use necessary tools to test moisture levels on wood items and building components such as floors, walls, baseboards, etc. This will happen both in the exterior and the interior of your home.
✓ The inspector will indicate areas that have extensive termite damages that may need immediate care to maintain the safety of the occupants of the house.
After the inspector has done a thorough inspection of the interior and the exterior of your home, they will give the following details as a final report of their findings:
✓ The inspector will outline their findings and observations on termite presence and activity by showing the evidence and the conditions that made it conducive for the termites to infest your home.
✓ They will further give you a detailed report on the location of the wood destroying insects, the avenues they use to get around your home and the location of their nests as identified during the inspection.
✓ The inspector will show you the extent of wood damages (if present) and the parts of your home and items that were destroyed by termites.
✓ In the inspector’s report, they will recommend effective elimination processes depending on the severity of the infestation and corrective measure on all the conducive conditions in your home that encourage termite infestation. They will also advise you on how to reduce the risk of future termite infestation and measures to take to avoid a re-infestation.
✓Before the inspection begins, the inspector will ask you as the homeowner several questions about your home to get a good understanding of your home and its history: the question includes:
These questions will not only help the inspector understand your home, but they will help them know the particular areas in your home that may have high termite activity. If in your DIY inspection you had seen evidence of termite activity, make sure that you share these details with your termite inspector.
✓ At the end of the inspection, the termite inspector will not only have a graph detailing locations with termite activity, but they will also plot for you important structural details that will help a great deal during the treatment plan.
A termite infestation is extremely hard to detect. Sometimes, even DIY inspection may not yield much. If you suspect or see anything that may indicate that there is a presence of termites in your home, you should not hesitate to seek termite inspection services.
If there are no indications showing termite activity in your, you can settle for annual termite inspection. A yearly inspection ensures that the termite problem is detected early before the infestation grows to unmanageable numbers and causes costly damages. If at any point you suspect you could be having termites even after the annual inspection has been done, you should call for termite inspection to be on the safe side.
Whether you are buying a new house or you are suspecting that you have termites in your home, a professional termite inspection is essential. A regular termite inspection is one of the surest ways to avoid termite infestation in your home. In fact, it’s recommended that you should always schedule for an annual termite inspection.
The national average cost of termite inspection comes to roughly $100. The cost of termite inspection ranges from $50 to $280. In some cases, the inspection comes free especially when it’s not related to a potential home sale. Normally, a normal termite inspection and a home sale inspection are usually treated differently but can be done simultaneously when you are putting a home up for sale.
If you live in an area that has low chances of termite infestation, you can schedule the inspection to once every two years. If your location has a high termite infestation threat, it would be better to have an annual inspection. Frequent termite inspections are essential. They can help you save from around $1000 to $5000 on termite treatment processes and fumigation services, not to mention expensive structural repairs. Considering that the inspection can be free in some cases, you are better off having regular inspection than allowing the problem to get out of control.
Home sale termite inspection: When purchasing a home, you will find that majority of home inspection companies include termite inspection as part of the home inspection package. You will be required to add about $80 to $130 on the home inspection costs to cater for the termite inspection exercise. Generally, home inspection services range from $350 to $500.
Termite Inspection Letter: If the termite inspection was meant for a home sale, you will require an official or report to prepare for the sale, or in some cases, as part of insurance requirement before they insure your home. The termite inspection letter or report is issued at an average cost ranging from$100 to $200.
Loan Appraisal Inspections: If you are planning to get a loan on your property you will need a termite inspection as part of the requirement. The cost of termite inspection is still the same at about $50 to $150. The cost only goes higher to about $250 to $400 for condominiums which will require a thorough pest inspection in cases where the appraiser suspects or has seen a potential sign for pest activities.
After the inspection, if the worst has happened and termites have already invaded your home, you can get treatment cost estimates. For some companies, they offer the termite treatment estimates to attract business. But, if you already have a termite infestation, the cost of termite control services ranges from $200 to $900 for residential termite treatment.
You can opt for a treatment plan where a pest control company comes once a year for preventive treatment or to replace and monitor bait stations. The cost for such a plan ranges anywhere between $150 to $350.
Alternatively, you can choose to have chemical treatments as part of the treatment plan. Most companies charge per linear foot for termite chemical treatment. The average cost per foot for chemical treatment ranges from $4 to $16. In this process, the professionals spray chemicals in parts of your home where the inspection showed the presence or signs of termites and also spray in areas that seem conducive for termites to thrive.
For an average home, the overall cost of termite chemical treatment ranges from $1300 to $1600. Fumigation is mostly used to eliminate dry wood termites, but it’s a bit costly. The average cost of fumigation services to get rid of termites range from $1300 to $3000 or more depending on the size of the home.
|Termite Inspection||Average cost|
|Average national termite inspection cost||$100|
|Low to high-end termite inspection costs||$50-$280|
|Home sale termite inspection cost||$80-$130|
|Termite inspection letter||$100-$200|
|Loan appraisal termite inspection||$50-$150|
The most effective way to identify a termite problem termites in your home is to hire termite inspection services. Many reasons necessitate the need for a termite inspection. You could be living in a home that has not had termite inspection for a long time. Or, you want to sell or buy a house; or you have spotted some signs that indicate termite activity in your home.
Whichever the case, hiring a professional termite inspector is the right step towards controlling termites and eradicating them if present. However, the most important aspect when hiring a termite inspector is to make sure that you hire the right one for the job. Remember, you will occasionally need a termite inspection annually even after a treatment plan. Therefore, it would be prudent to make sure that you hire a termite inspection company that you can have a lasting professional relationship with for years.
Here are essential tips that should guide you in hiring the right termite inspection company:
The first step towards getting the right termite inspector is asking for referrals from people in your network. This includes family members, friends, neighbors and even colleagues from work. This way, you are more likely to get a reliable inspector within your local area.
The other alternative is to go online and look for termite inspectors near you. Most companies nowadays have websites with detailed information about their services, contact details, and location. Do your due diligence and ensure that you get enough details about a potential termite inspection company.
For online research, make sure that you read reviews on both the company’s website and from other trusted sites that do reviews on companies. Look at the ratings and see how other people have rated that particular company. When looking at the reviews, pay attention to the way the company responds to negative reviews. This will you give an insight into how the company handles its customers particularly the nature of their customer service.
This is another reliable source for you to get a reputable termite inspector. The Better Business Bureau usually has a list of different professionals listed under them. They can give you several referral options to professionals with clean record and excellent customer care reviews.
Or you can contact pest control associations and organizations for referrals. Normally, some of these organizations register professional members who meet a certain set of professional requirements in the pest control field. You will be assured of getting qualified termite inspector who is reliable, experienced and has the right certifications for the job from such professional associations.
After you have settled for specific termite inspectors, contact them and schedule for a face to face interview where you can ask relevant questions. If possible, let the interview take place at the inspector’s office if they have one. This way, you will be able to tell if the company is legit and gauge their professionalism. While on the phone, you can ask if the company gives free price estimates for the inspection services.
The key to employing a qualified, experienced and reputable termite inspector is to ask relevant questions that will give you an insight into the quality of their services. Before you hire a termite inspection company, scheduled for an interview. During the interview be keen to ask the following essential questions.
A qualified termite inspector should have a license from the relevant authority. If they are licensed, ask for a copy of the license. A license is one of the ways for you to know that you are working with someone who is authorized by the relevant authorities to perform termite inspection.
When you are in the process of hiring a termite inspector, you want to deal make sure that you are dealing with someone who is not only qualified for the job but also experienced enough to handle the job without any doubt. Termite infestation is a serious problem that can cost thousands of dollars if undetected.
The inspection stage is very crucial because the report from your inspector will determine your next course of action. Therefore, you need to hire someone who has dealt with similar situations and knows what and where to look during the inspection.
Professional pest control organizations are established to guide and manage pest control professionals. Such organizations train their members, guide them through latest pest control treatment and inspection methods. They also keep tabs on their members by ensuring that they offer qualified services.
If a termite inspector belongs to such organizations, it’s a sign that they are qualified, and serious about their profession.
This question is relevant as it will help gauge how knowledgeable the inspector is and their proficiency in their work. You will also be in a position to know the methods they will use to carry out the inspection.
Some companies offer termite inspection for free especially if it’s not tied to a house sale. However, it’s important to clarify this fact by asking the inspector if they charge for termite inspection.
If they charge for the inspection, ask about the cost. Make sure you get a price estimate by giving out the relevant details about your home. These details include the size of your house, history of previous termite inspections, the location of your home and the reasons why you need the inspection. With such details, the termite inspector will be able to give you a quote tailored to your needs.
Normally, after a termite inspection, your inspector is supposed to give a detailed report of their findings and advise you on the next course of action. Ask your termite inspector if they will provide you with a detailed description of their findings after the inspection.
Knowing the duration of the inspection process is vital. It will enable you to create time to be at home during the inspection. A good termite inspector should be able to give an estimate of the time they will take to complete the inspection.
You need to find out if the inspection company offers a guarantee for their services. If they do, you will be assured of a thorough inspection; one that will yield the right findings regarding the state of your home.
Ask the termite inspection company of they will you provide with a written contract. It should have details of the termite inspection, costs, company’s contact information, current date and year, and signatures from both of you.
A reputable termite inspection company will continue to offer you support even after the inspection process. They might offer free consultations in the future, send you updated newsletters and communicate relevant news about termite controls measures.
Just like any other service provider scams, termite inspection scams are quite common. As a homeowner, you should be aware of these scams to avoid becoming a victim. Unfortunately, there are many. This field is filled with unscrupulous people waiting for the right homeowner to scam. Scams related to termite inspection are on the rise, and you need to be on the lookout when hiring one.
It might be hard to believe that someone can be this cunning but it actually does happen on a regular basis. A shrewd termite inspector will strategically present to you evidence showing that you have a termite infestation in your home. They will show you things like shed wings, or termite frass that will convince you that you have termites busy destroying your beloved home.
Coincidently, this same inspector will conveniently offer eradication services that will cost you thousands of dollars. They may even convince you that you need a continued inspection from them which of course comes at a fee. This type of scam aims to make sure that the inspectors capitalize on your situation and make as much money as they can while at it.
To avoid falling for such scams, make sure you hire a reputable licensed inspection company that comes with a referral or references. Alternatively, if you are suspicious of findings from your inspector, you can always seek a second opinion before you proceed with a treatment plan.
This is another common termite inspection scam. As a homeowner, it might be difficult for you to know if the damages in your home are as a result of termite activities. Unscrupulous termite inspectors will convince you that you have severe termite damages that will cost you thousands of dollars in repair.
The aim is to conveniently refer you to one of their own to repair the damages. If the report shows that you have costly termite damages, it would be better to seek for a second opinion before spending your hard earned money on non-existent damages.
After an inspection, the report might indicate that you have termites in your home. Some fraud termite inspectors might claim to offer fumigation service to solve the problem. In fact, they will declare that they have effective chemicals designed to eliminate the termite situation in your home.
But some of these unscrupulous inspectors will fumigate your home using cheap chemicals that will only remove some termites and not all of them. This means that you will soon be dealing with a re-infestation few months after your home was supposedly fumigated. To avoid falling for this scam, ask to see the type of chemicals the inspector plans to use. Check the containers for labels and research to see if they are authentic and recommended.
If you suspect that you are dealing with a scammer in the name of termite inspector, you should protect other homeowners by reporting the alleged inspector to the police or lodge a complaint to the Better Business Bureau. If the inspection company has an online presence, you can leave a negative review and give a detailed explanation of what transpired. This way, you will have taken the right steps to ensure that no other homeowner falls a victim due to con termite inspectors.
A termite inspection is evidently a necessary process for your home in the bid to control or eradicate termite infestation. Termites can destroy wood in your home and cause excessive, costly damages. Even though detecting termites in your home might be an uphill task, you should look at for signs like shed skin, frass, damaged hollow wood and presence of swarmers in your home. If you spot any of these signs, you should take the right step and seek for termite inspection.
You could be living in a home where termite inspection has not been done in a long time, or you might have seen signs that indicate termite activity, or like many other people; you could be planning to buy or sell a house.
Whichever the case, hiring the right termite inspection company is crucial. Make sure that you ask the relevant questions before hiring and only seek for termite inspection companies that are licensed. Termite eradication starts with a thorough termite inspection. To avoid incurring costly damages and losses due to termite infestation, you need to take the right precautions and schedule for regular termite inspection